The DC Furies kicked off the WPL season on the road this Sunday with a game against New York Rugby Club. It was a gorgeous day at Randall’s Island, and DC took the field with a strong mix of veteran Furies and new additions to the team. The Furies set the tone early, putting pressure on the NY offense after a turnover, forcing an error and regaining possession. Getting the ball out wide to Lauren Rhode, the former collegiate all-American touched in down in the corner for an early DC lead.
Play continued in NY’s half as the two teams battled for possession. Scrumhalf Eli White blocked an attempt to kick by NY, keeping DC inside their opponent’s 15. A penalty by NY gave DC a clear shot at the uprights and a kick from Lauren Rhode sailed through to put the Furies up 8-0.
Following a minute called by the ref to allow both team’s to hydrate in the late summer heat, the Furies found themselves facing pressure from the NY defense at the 50. Julie Lau, fresh from 7s, found a hole in the defense and ran it in for DC’s second try of the day. Hunter’s conversion put the Furies at 15-0.
As the two teams battle for possession, play moved up and down the field. NY capitalized off errors by the Furies and touched it down wide. The Furies held them to one try and the half ended with DC up 15-5.
After the half, NY came knocking and put the Furies on their heels, touching it down early, but missing the conversion. Taking advantage of the momentum, NY continued to force DC to defend their try zone. Taking a quick tap off a penalty, NY tied it up at 15 all.
The two teams traded strong runs and messy mistakes until the Furies found their forward momentum and marched it down field. A held up try gave the Furies a scrum at the 5. In a true 15-as-1 moment the pack drove over the ball and Eli got it out to the backs. It went through hands to Amanda Street who touched it down to regain the DC lead. Kicking from wide and into the wind held the score at 20-15.
NY’s strong runners had DC defending their try zone once again, and Player-of-the Match Jessica Shipley added try-saving tackles to her day of big hits and long kicks to gain ground for DC. As the clock wound down the Furies fought hard to hold off NY. Launching off the line, new Furies player Katie “Sally” O’Malley intercepted a NY pass and ran the full length of the field with NY close on her heels. She touched it down dead center for the final play of the game. The conversion kick went straight through the uprights and the whistle blew with a final score of 27-15 Furies.
With a strong start to the fall season, all eyes turn to next weekend when the WPL side will travel to Colorado to take on the Glendale Raptors and the Div 2 side will host the Norfolk Storm in DC for their competitive season debut.
Match report by Tara Dunderdale.